Thursday, August 05, 2010

FL:One family,four lives taken by a drunk driver;leave grieving wives&young children to mourn...Please Share!

This story really touched me and caught my attention today. While thousands are killed every year by drunk drivers, the raw video of this families mourning is a desperate reminder of what driving under the influence can do to the families involved. This tragedy will change the lives of an entire family for generations, as the wives are now single mothers to very young children, one is 4 months and the other is four years old, who still do not understand what happened to their daddy's and ask where they are.

Four lives were snuffed out in one breath as a result of one man's careless decision to drive drunk on July 30. Making matters even worse, the drunk driver, Demetrius Jordan was only 20 years old and not even above the legal drinking age. Regardless, he not only destroyed this families life, but his own in the process. According to Fox Orlando, Jordan is facing four counts of DUI manslaughter and one count of DUI with bodily injury. Jordan remained hospitalized at Bayfront Medical Center Monday afternoon and had his first court appearance by telephone. His bond has been set at $220,250.

Family friend and spokesman says, “We need to be aware of this decision that was made that could have been prevented,” Webster said. “This family wants to forgive, but what’s happening right now is anger, pain, hurt, and confusion.”

The press conference is part of the grieving process and the family hopes their pain and loss will make others think twice before driving under the influence. Here is the raw video, please share it as a gentle reminder to others not to drink and drive!

Amplify’d from
The McConnell Family
Father and Three Sons Killed by Drunk Driver in St. Petersburg - Press Conference Video

Calling the deaths of an Orlando father and his three sons in St. Petersburg over the weekend a horrible tragedy that was caused by one poor decision, family members held an emotional press conference to discuss the four lives cut short at the hands of a drunk driver.

The widows and relatives of Elroy McConnell II., 51, and his sons, Elroy McConnell III, 28, Nathan McConnell, 24, and Kelly McConnell, 19, wept loudly Tuesday as each one tried to recall the type of people each man was. Three were fathers, and two leave behind wives and young children while the youngest leaves behind a mother and girlfriend.

During the press conference Elroy McConnell II's ex wife, and mother of the two oldest men, passed out and had to be helped from the press conference by relatives.

Family friend Burlin Webster said, “Like a thief in the night, this tragedy took these four men away from their wives, their mothers, and the people they loved. This tragedy could have been avoided. This was a decision made by one person."

That one person was Demetrius Jordan, 20, who police in St. Petersburg say was drunk when he blew through a red light at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and 22nd Avenue North early Sunday at 85 MPH and slammed into the family's car cutting it in two. All four men were killed instantly. The posted speed limit was 35 MPH.

Jordan admitted to Police Officers after he was read Miranda rights that he had been drinking several alcoholic energy drinks and smoking marijuana that evening. Jordan and his passenger were taken to a St. Petersburg area hospital in serious and critical condition.

Elroy McConnell the thirds wife Sandie held her son, Elroy the fourth, as she spoke directly to viewers across America and said, "This drunk driver didn't just steal his life from him, but from his friends and family. I hope and pray that the next time you go drinking and driving, you stop to think about this tragedy." McConnell's wife went on to say her six month old son asks for his daddy every night and she doesn't know how to tell him he's dead.

Calling her husband her "heart and soul, the beat of my heart and light of day, the air that I breathe. He was not just my husband, but my best friend," Sandie went on to say, "We all know people who drink and drive, but ultimately, this is the result. It could be any one of you. Your spouse. Your child. It could be your life. Because of this poor decision, now we are widows and kids have to grow up without daddies."

The family was on vacation in Pinellas County over the weekend to celebrate Kelly's 19th birthday on July 30th and hold a family reunion. McConnell and his sons were returning to their hotel from seeing a movie when the accident happened around 2AM.

Elroy the second was a popular pop-warner football coach in Orlando and each of his sons played football throughout their lives from elementary school to high school.

Elroy II's sister Lorraine McConnell said her brother was a charitable man who went out of his way to help those who didn't have money or were down on their luck. McConnell often reminded family members to help others since they were in a position to help those who needed it. "I can't think of a person on this Earth who he hasn't helped," Lorraine McConnell said. "He was my strength; my rock."

Jordan remains hospitalized at Bayfront Medical Center in serious condition Monday and made his first court appearance by telephone Monday afternoon. Jordan is facing four counts of DUI manslaughter and one count of DUI with bodily injury. His bond has been set at $220,250.

A family spokesman said the family wants to forgive the driver the same way each man was taught to forgive through their church, but they also want justice to be served.

Each family member implored the viewing audience to think the next time they decide to drink and drive and to save another family, or their own, the heart break drunk driving can cause.

A celebration of the men's lives will be held at 2PM on Monday August 9th at University Carillon United Methodist Church, 1395 Campus View Court, Oviedo, 32765. For information, call the church at (407) 359-2112.

The family is setting up an account at Bank of America to assist with funeral services and college trust funds for Elroy McConnell II's grandchildren.


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